Tag Archives: Chicago White Sox

I Was a Teenage Prospector: Frank Thomas

Thomas Minors

1990 Best

Frank was one of those guys that looked amazing right out of the gate, as soon as he was drafted, and put his cards pretty much out of reach until the scope of the early 90s overproduction became apparent. That’s part of why I treasured this Best card so much, even back then: so many people had Thomas’ 1990 Score and Topps, fewer had the Leaf, but I never saw this card in anyone else’s collection. I can’t remember exactly where I found packs of these cards, but I know that we found about half a box and, owing to the rarity, I convinced my parents to scoop up all the remaining cards.

The packs also contained some future stars such as Bernie Williams, Javy Lopez, and Luis Gonzalez, among others that I thought would be future stars at the time. The cards seem simplistic, but I think they’re actually pretty nice. Full-bleed shots were unheard of at the time, and while the font is a little low-rent and cheesy, it’s about what you would expect for that time. Better minor league cards were coming, and soon, but for now, this offered what I thought was an underrated look at an undiscovered country: the world of minor league baseball, which still fascinates me to this day.

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Card of the Day: 2002 SPx GU Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez

Just a sweetass card today.

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Card of the Day: 2003 Bowman Heritage Luis Aparicio

Just learned of the existence of the Luis Aparicio award, given to the best Venezuelan player in the majors as voted on by the Venezuelan sports writers. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies won it this year.

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I Was a Teenage Prospector: Wilson Alvarez

Alvarez UD

1990 Upper Deck

Wilson Alvarez was one of those players who, for me, had a reputation that preceded him. I read about him in some magazine back in the day, most likely early 1990, talking about this Rangers kid who was tearing up the minors and had a high upside. I was immediately captivated and wanted a card of him but, unfortunately, they were a little hard to find at the time (read: non-existent, save for minor league issues that were as out of reach for me as the moon).

So I was all ready for him to become a big-time Rangers prospect, and as the team also had Brian Bohanon in the pipeline for a team that had Bobby Witt and Nolan Ryan, I had a good feeling about the future of the Rangers pitching staff. Then, of course, Alvarez got dealt to the White Sox as part of the Sammy Sosa deal (yikes, Texas, just yikes), leaving the 1989 Topps Debut card as the only one depicting him in a Rangers uniform (and this was a good few months before that set came out). As I was somewhat into the Rangers at the time, this was kind of a mood killer, but I still looked forward to this card.

Then, of course, the Upper Deck high numbers were issued. This was becoming an annual treat for me, so I went nuts when I started to see them, pulling Wilson fairly early on and putting him in a plastic case. These days, of course, it’s not worth nearly as much – Alvarez had a decent if not great career – but the picture on the front still evokes memories of that long wait and my excitement pulling him from a pack. I wish sometimes I could go back to that simplicity in collecting, but I’m pretty happy with where I am.


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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 19 – Chicago White Sox

All right! Today we have Jeff Bittiger, John Davis, Dave Gallagher, Ricky Horton, Jack McDowell, Dan Pasqua, Jerry Reuss, Mark Salas, and Jose Segura.

I really wanted to do a standalone Jack McDowell post, but Melido Perez had cards in every single set, which made for a better overall post. McDowell was highly regarded in 1988, but he dropped off the radar after posting (horror of horrors) a 5-10 record with a 3.97 ERA. At age 22. Thank God we’re starting to get past the win-loss record thing, because McDowell was a very good pitcher in 1988.

Dan Pasqua turned out to be a damned good acquisition for the Pale Sox, too, leading the team with 20 home runs (you can tell it was 1988) and putting up a 101 OPS+ despite a .227 BA. Kind of Adam Dunn before Adam Dunn.

Jerry Reuss was a pretty damn good pitcher in 1988, too, putting up a 3.44 ERA and 116 ERA+. Pretty good considering he was nearing the end of his career at the time.

Jose Segura is an odd choice. He only appeared in 4 games in 1988 and ended up with a 13.50 ERA. Hell, his career ERA was over 9, and he pitched in only 22 major league games.

There were some interesting players that made their debut in 1988 but didn’t get cards, like Sap Randall. He played in four games that year, and he was done with his major league career. Carlos Martinez also made his debut in 1988; we’ll hear more from him in the 1989 Project.

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The 1988 Project Day 30 – Melido Perez

And so we reach the end of featured players for the project…I’ll be taking a few days off before launching Phase 2: Team Posts.

1988 Donruss Baseball's Best

Melido Perez’s early career was an interesting one. As far as I can tell, beyond being Pascual Perez’s brother, I’m not sure he was ever widely heralded when he was a Royals prospect. If he was, the numbers don’t really bear it out. 1987 was definitely a banner year for him, however, as he went a combined 12-8 with a 3.09 ERA with a combined 177 K’s in 198 innings between High A and AA. Given that year, the Royals were ready to bump him up to the majors at the end of 1987.

1988 Donruss The Rookies

I know Melido’s 1988 Donruss pictured him with the Royals (I can’t find any other cards past that), but I had never seen an action shot of him in a Royals uniform until I stumbled across this shot from the Lawrence-Journal World dated  September 5th, 1987. This is from Melido’s first major league start:

Melido said of the start, “No, I was not nervous. I feel good. It’s the same game, the same ball. Nothing is different. ” He made three starts with the Royals that September, going 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA and 60 ERA+. Not the most auspicious of starts.

1988 Fleer Update

The Royals dealt him to the White Sox in the offseason along with Chuck MountJohn Davis, and Greg Hibbard for Floyd Bannisterand Dave Cochrane. Given how careers panned out there, I’d say the White Sox won that deal, but apparently Floyd Bannister was the prize of the deal; the Yankees were even in on trying to pry him away from the White Sox, ultimately settling for the deal that sent Dan Pasqua to the Sox for Richard Dotson (both of whom will show up in the team posts). Said Steinbrenner at the time, ”I was for the left-hander, but I was a lone voice. We might have been able to get Bannister now, but they wanted prospects and I can’t hock everybody.” Kind of dispels some of the notion of George the Tyrant, but anyway, Perez was a White Sox player now, and would make his regular-season debut with the team on April 8th at the Kingdome, ultimately beating the Mariners by a 3-2 score, despite giving up two home runs and getting a no-decision thanks to lousy run support.

1988 Score Rookie & Traded

Perez’s best game of 1988, arguably, would be his October 1st outing against the Royals (oh, irony) when he threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout, striking out ten Royals hitters, including two strikeouts apiece for Danny Tartabull and Willie Wilson. In a rare show of strength in his next-to-last major league game, Mike Diaz had two RBI to help Perez bring in the win. Perez ended 1988 with a 12-10 record to go with a 3.79 ERA (somewhat aided by his team’s defense), 138 Ks in 197 IP, a 2.1 WAR, and a 105 ERA+. A pretty damn good showing for a rookie pitcher, but it would not be his finest season.

1988 Topps Traded

Melido was with the White Sox until 1991, when he was dealt to the Yankees with Domingo Jean and Bob Wickman for Steve Sax. The Yankees would end up dominating this trade, with Perez having his finest years in pinstripes. In 1992, he struck out 218 in 247 innings and posted a 138 ERA+, the highest of his career. 1993 was a down year, but he rebounded well in 1994 before dropping off in 1995 and then disappearing from the majors due to elbow surgery. He tried to make it back in 1996, but never regained his old abilities.

Wow, lots to choose from here, but I’m going with the Topps card as my favorite, even if I find the White Sox color scheme…bizarre.

And that does it for Phase 1 of the 1988 Project! I never thought I’d reach this point…it’s all downhill from here. Look for the Team Posts to start very soon.

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Finds and Sales V: You Yo-Yo

Yeah, that’s right, I managed to find a Boston Red Sox Yo-Yo last week.

This week’s sales and finds is a little unique, as I found myself thrifting when my apartment was – once again – without power, and I needed a refuge from the heat.

My biggest source of finds this week was junk wax. I found heaps of bags of donated junk wax, and picked them up with a couple of rules in mind:

  1. If a card from a set pre-1986 was visible, buy.
  2. If an Expo or National was visible, buy.
  3. If any of my PC players were visible, buy.

I pruned down the pulls to only those essentials and did what you should do with junk wax: I threw it away. It’s all part of my effort to simplify my collection. Here’s a picture of the stack of left-over cards. Some of these will be going out in trades:

Along the way I also ended up with a pack of Beanie Baby cards that was packaged in with some baseball cards. I figured hell, why not? I went for it. Here are the contents (they’re available if anyone wants them):

I also found the book Eight Men Out. I don’t know if the movie was based on this, or vice versa (I suspect the former). I’ve always been fascinated by the Black Sox scandal, so it was a must-have, and is not getting resold.

Then I found this little oddity:

It’s a snowglobe of George Mason basketball coach Jim Larranaga. Odd find, huh?

Finally, I found this box of Oriole checkers.

The concept is checkers played with Orioles and Yankees mini helmets.

Yeah, not sure what else to say about that.

So that’s it for this week’s edition. Stay tuned…

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Finds From The National Part 8: The Throwbacks

As always, I’m a sucker for old-school style revivals, and I came across some that I had never seen before during The National.

Not sure how I feel about this. There are some pretty significant changes to the 1989 design, and they’ve thrown some foil on it. It’s also a lot glossier than the original issue. So it’s not really true to the original, but the set still seems worth having. Just a note, this is the second A-Rod 1989 design card I have, each with a different team. Now they just need to make one in a Yankees uniform and I’ll complete the trifecta. Oh, and I got one other card of this set:

Now that’s a sweet card.

I also found some cards that I was blissfully ignorant of: chrome versions of old Bowman cards! I scooped up every copy I found, which wasn’t much. Anyone know more about these and how many there are?

I also picked up a few 2002 Donruss Originals for my set, short prints, but I haven’t gotten to scanning them and they’re already in the binder with the set. Oh, well. Their time will come on the site.

Okay, only one more entry to go! I thought this might end up taking the whole week, and it looks like it will. Stay tuned…

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Finds and Sales IV

Only one sports-related find last week: a Billy Ripken bobblehead that I’ll eventually show here. Most everything else was video-game related, and has sold well so far. So we’ll delve some more into the past here.

This was an eBay find for $1.00, and while I’ve considered reselling it, I’ve held on to it for awhile because I like it more than it’s probably worth. Having a game-used of Frank Thomas, especially with the stripe, is just awesome. Totally worth it. Maggs is just a bonus. And the design isn’t too bad, which is surprising for a dual-swatch card.

Baseball Stars may well have been the best baseball game on the original NES. Wikipedia explains why it was so awesome:

Baseball Stars was one of the first sports games to have data memory, therefore players could create a team, configure baseball league & play a season, and the game’s memory chip stored cumulative statistics.Baseball Stars was also the first sports game for the NES to have a create a player feature; giving gamers the power to name their players, as well as their teams. The game also introduced a role playing element; as each game played earns the winning team money, and the amount won is directly related to the sum of theprestige ratings of the players from both teams (as prestige determines how many paying fans attend the game). The money can be used to purchase upgrades to the various abilities of players currently on the roster, or it can be used to purchase pre-designed players (available in the Rookie, Veteran, and All-Star categories). Also a first, a hidden feature allows players to purchase female baseball players.

This thing sold FAST, too, and I understand. If I’d had a working NES to play this on, I might have been tempted to save it.

This was part of a previously-mentioned find that included a Wayne Gretzky auto and the 1986 Donruss Rookies set at a thrift store in Maryland. In fact, it was in the pack with the Gretzky auto. Considering the pack with the auto cost me 80 cents and this card alone sold for a couple of bucks, I’d say the investment was worth it.

This was another eBay flip that went from 50 cents to 2.00. Not a huge triumph, but the margin is excellent, and little finds like this add up. I also like the card, but I was a sucker for Igor’s Texas reign.

Last, I haven’t decided if I’m going to unload this or not. So only Clinton is still with the Skins, but at the same time…it IS the Skins. I’m just not sure where I would put it yet, and I’m not sure if it would sell for more than I purchased it for. Still worthwhile to own, either way.

Let’s hope next week is a little more productive, though I’m going to be at The National Saturday, so I’ll have an abbreviated schedule. Perhaps I’ll feature my National finds here? We’ll see.

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2002 UD Authentics #1

Guess what, kiddies! It’s time for another Throwback set. This one is actually pretty near and dear to my heart. Back in 2004, when I resumed collecting, I went to a card show at the Dulles Expo Center and saw these boxes that looked eerily like 1989 Upper Deck boxes only a little different, and had modern players on the 1989 Upper Deck design. I was perplexed. What could this set be?

It took some research, but I learned that it was the 2002 UD Authentics set, and I knew I had to have it, but the boxes were really out of my price range even then, so I set my desire for the set on the backburner until I thought I could afford them. I stopped collecting for a few years, then when I started back up, I knew I had to have them, but would buy them piecemeal rather than in a box. So far, my set looks pretty good, but I have a long way to go. I’ll be posting a needs list soon, but let’s delve into what I have so far.

The set is organized by team and begins in the AL West for some reason; that Fullmer card is #1. It stays mostly true to the ’89 design, though of course the team logos are different. Also annoying is the presence on the left-hand side of that “Traded to” or “signed by” text. It even crops up on cards where players are in the correct uniform. Poor decision by Upper Deck, but overall it only earns a slight demerit. The photography is adequate, but not spectacular, which I have to say kind of fits in with the 89 set in retrospect. Sure, it was innovative in a lot of ways, but a lot of that photography is pretty poor by today’s standards.

Anyway, the Fullmer card just gets a C for me, which is kind of disappointing given the bang that the 1989 set started with…which is another gripe of mine. The star rookies are in the back of the set, and are anything but “star” rookies. Given the great crop of rookies in 2002, they sure picked some duds. We’ll get to that in the near future, however.

That’s a little more like it on the photography side. One thing I liked about the 89 set is, flaws and all, it really captured the game of baseball rather than separating out the player. I wish I had some examples to show here, but the Kirby Puckett 89 card comes to mind immediately. And really, the design is so classic. I love the first base line motif, and they kept all of that intact without messing with it.

This card gets an overall B+ for the interesting photo. Too bad about Miguel’s career, though. I once had a PC of him, but had to give it up.

Speaking of liking players, I wish Sasaki had stayed in the US longer. I really liked the guy, but I guess he had something to prove coming over here, and once he did, he was done. Gone too soon. C- for the card, though. I really don’t like this photo.

One of the few players to be in the original 89 set and this set, I dig this Canseco. It really just sums up that era of sports card photography well. That’s just a classic Canseco pose, and well worth the price of admission. A on this card.

Incidentally, Jose had three 1989 Upper Deck cards. See them here.

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